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Arthouse cinema fares well in German theatres


- An FFA German Federal Film Board study shows that nearly one in six German screens showed arthouse films in 2017 and that these films sold one in eight tickets

Arthouse cinema fares well in German theatres
The Dumpling Affair by Ed Herzog

2017 was a solid year for arthouse cinema in Germany, as an FFA German Federal Film Board study reveals. Attendance was stable compared to 2016, with 15.3 million tickets sold (which represents only a slight drop of 0.7%) out of a total of 112.3 million, meaning that 12.5% viewers (one in eight) saw a work by an auteur last year. Box-office receipts for arthouse titles went up by 1.7% to reach €113.5 million, due to a 2.2% hike in the ticket price.

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A total of 812 screens in the country were classified as arthouse last year (31 more than in 2016, which is in line with the general trend) – that is, one in six, or 16.9% of the total number of screens (4,803). Seven hundred of these (86.2%) are located in one of the 450 venues completely dedicated to auteur cinema.

Arthouse film fans living in big cities are naturally in a better position to see the kind of cinema they relish on the big screen, especially since nine in ten tickets for arthouse titles (87%) are bought at dedicated venues. Big cities get 40.3% of the total admissions for arthouse films, while cities with under 20,000 inhabitants only reach 8.7%. Also, as is to be expected, arthouse fans saw more films in 2017 (9.2) than the average viewer (4.7), and the number went up compared to the 8.1 visits reported in 2016. Nineteen percent of arthouse viewers came alone, while the general average is 12%.

A total of 169 of the movies released last year were considered auteur by AG Kino Gilde and the FFA. Only three German productions made it into the arthouse top ten for 2017 (as against seven the previous year): Ed Herzog's The Dumpling Affair, Robert Thalheim's Old Agent Men, and Patrick Allgaier and Gwendolin Weisser's documentary WEIT. Die Geschichte von einem Weg um die Welt. Only one title classified as arthouse passed the one-million viewer mark: La La Land (1.8 million).

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